The Times newspaper recently reported on a claim that bookmakers could soon be facing a ban from advertising in the UK before the 9pm watershed.
There are already some restrictions in place. You may have noticed for example, that you only see gambling adverts during the commercial break of a sporting event. This has nothing to do with those companies targeting just those slots. Legally bookmakers cannot currently advertise outside of sporting events.
The impact of this on bookmakers should not be under-estimated and will likely lead to some kind of drop in profit from In-Play (betting on live events) markets. Especially considering that most British sporting events have concluded before 9pm.
There’s some doubt that such legislation will make it through. Any government review is likely to meet stiff resistance not only from the bookmakers, but also broadcasters and the advertising industry as a whole. All these parties stand to lose significant revenue. As an example, UK bookmakers between 2012 and 2016 spent £500 million on TV advertising alone.
As matched bettors we don’t revel in the plight of the bookmakers. Without them we could not make our money. However, if the TV advertising door were to shut almost permanently, it could lead to increase in advertising across other channels. Online, for instance, could see a surge of promotion as bookmakers look to maintain their presence in the market.
Could this lead to more offers? Could it even lead to bookmakers looking after their existing customer base more, by offering lucrative In-Play Reload offers? All speculation for now. We will have to wait and see as to whether this fighting talk from government ministers holds any weight.